Scott Tyzbir was in prison - where he's spent 17 years off and on - when his 14-year-old son, Cody, died suddenly from heart failure.
The sadness was overwhelming.
"I felt a lot of depression and grief," Tyzbir said. "Guilt."
But through his sorrow, he said, he was given a gift.
"I just started drawing," he said. "I didn't stop. I was either crying or feeling guilty. Or I drew."
Never having been artistic before, he said the urge just came over him, and his pencil moved effortlessly, flawlessly over the page.
"Some of them, I didn't even know why I started them," he said. "I don't even know how I got the image in my head."
Cody had wanted to be a tattoo artist when he grew up, Tyzbir said, and drawing helped him feel connected to his son.
"He is my inspiration," said Tyzbir, 47. "When I was drawing, I would think of him a lot."
His new passion not only helped him work through his grief, but isolated him from his fellow inmates as well.
"I didn't hang out with nobody in prison," he said. "It was just me and my pencils."
Now, a year outside of lock-up, he's ready to share the more than 300 graphite drawings he's created.
"I'm excited for people to see them," he said. "I have some that are pretty good."
While he was growing up, Tyzbir's parents bought and sold Native American artifacts on the powwow circuits, and his heritage is Cherokee and Sioux.
Many of his drawings are inspired by that culture and those will be on display this month in Comma Coffee's Backseat Gallery. A reception to kick off his show will be 5-7 p.m. Wednesday at Comma Coffee. His drawings will be on display throughout the rest of the month.
His wife, Wendi, said it's the ideal collection to showcase.
"This is the perfect place for it," she said. "The atmosphere is just awesome, and it's right across the seat from the Legislature. And with this being a Native American town, per se, I think a lot of people will like it."
Wendi said people are always amazed when they see her husband's work, recently selling several religious pieces to members of their congregation.
He also took second place for one of his drawings at the 2010 Nevada Day Art Show.
"I found a talent I never had," he said. "For 40 something years, I never knew I could draw. It changes the way you look at things."
And the 1984 Carson High School graduate hopes his life will continue to change, becoming a better father for his son, Brenon, and step-children Julio, Garrette, Heather and Skylar.
"I'm trying," he said.
And his future will always include his art.
"I got a gift," he said. "It came from somewhere ... my son."